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Hypochondria on viral marketing
07.16.07 | No Comments

Advertising Age’s “What’s Plaguing Viral Marketing” is an interesting counterpoint to the excitement about viral marketing. Based on conclusions of research that discounts the importance of “influencers”, the article presents the idea that marketers are headed in the wrong direction focusing on finding the few people with disproportionate influence that will transform a campaign into a phenomena. It is true that majority of such campaigns fail to catch on, and too many marketers try to catch lightning in a bottle with me-too tactics that have worked for others without considering that what worked for sneakers might not be right for pet care. But this article goes even farther based on what I am sure is a very elaborate computer model. Tom Hespos gives a good overview on why creative shortcomings might be responsible for most viral campaigns falling short, versus concluding that good ol’ mass marketing is what brands should consider (which is oddly enough what the article seems to suggest). I think there is an even bigger hole in this line of thinking, however, and it is based on the assumption that influencers are solely individuals that interact with one community.

Without knowing the ins and outs of Mr. Watts’ model, and drawing on the experience that we have from creating and planning campaigns that get picked up and spread by users all the time, I can say with confidence that it over-simplifies the real world landscape by a large margin. First, the idea that that an influential individual is “several times” more influential than an average consumer is bizarre, considering that an “ordinary” person may or may not blog, and if they do, their average readership is usually less than 10. Most of the bloggers that marketers target have audiences in the tens of thousands or even millions, which would seem to indicate there is a large magnitude of difference between the model and reality. If this difference is because the research uses a flat, peer-to-peer network as its basis, fine, but the article should have mentioned it. Also potentially misleading is the idea that marketers focus on finding individuals as opposed to groups or communities. A person who’s opinion carries weight in one community might be meaningless in another, or may be regarded as scripture in yet another. Knowing what to place where is often more important than who, and only by having a comprehensive understanding about how different communities (vs individuals) feed each other can marketers change viral from hit-or-miss to a key part of their strategy. Users will embrace great ideas, and the challenge is having them in the right format at the right time, not so much hitting up the same .1% of the population over and over again (or hiring a network of people to chase them, for that matter). I don’t know many people in marketing who really believed that if you found the 10 super-influencers you could collect your check and go home, but it is a stretch to apply an abstract model to a much more complicated environment.

The True Strength of User-Generated Media
05.31.07 | No Comments

Just a quick thought- I’ve been hearing and reading stories of marketers that are having problems conducting user-driven campaigns. A lot of this confusion seems to stem from the fact that companies are treating people like unpaid creative directors, and are expecting them to create :30s or print ads around products, and then fret that the results don’t accurately reflect the brand. Some of the thinking on this has been along the “You get what you pay for” line of thought, but I actually think that is secondary. Question: When was the last time you filmed a :30 to tell a friend what you thought? Or created a large visual with compelling copy? Users don’t speak in ad units, but the expectation is that non-traditional creative will be carried by traditional media, which is a large part of the disconnect. Most videos on YouTube aren’t :30 seconds long for a reason- people are done when they’re done, and though 99.9% of what is created is of middling/poor quality, it is far more genuine. The trick lies in loosening the creative restraints, and looking at vehicles that users are comfortable with already, not just in terms of media, but especially in format.

Top blogs average 33 months
10.16.06 | No Comments
Category: Blogging | Technorati

An interesting post on ProBlogger about the average age for blogs in the Technorati Top 100 is 33.8 months (roughly 2 1/2 years).  An interesting point for those looking for commonality among consistantly popular blogs.

Blogging a coup
09.20.06 | No Comments

While I don’t really tend to cover current events, the blogging (and the Flickring, and the YouTube activities, etc) going on about the Thailand coup is fascinating. Of course, this post sums up the activity better than I ever could.

Splogs threaten the blogosphere
08.22.06 | No Comments
Category: Advertising | Blogging

Micro Persuasion has a rundown on an article in that latest issue of Wired detailing the problem of Spam Blogs (Splogs). We’ve all done a search in Technorati or Google Blog Search, only to click through a few of the results and realize we’ve been hit with a spam blog. The Wired article highlights several key pieces of information about splogs - including that Blooger hosts over 100,000 spam blogs alone. MP has some suggestions for getting rid of splogs, particularly where it hurts - the advertising networks, essentially calling for ad networks to require that publishers prove they are legit before they can join. Can we all say “Yes!” - there’s nothing I can imagine more futile than doing a buy via Adwords, etc, only to get your ads on a splog.

Washington Post kicks off blog ad network
08.18.06 | No Comments

Micro Persuasion is reporting that the Washington Post has kicked off a new Blog advertising network, called the Sponsored Blogroll. I really like how well the Post is integrating blogs and other UGM into the online component of their paper. Kudos, gang.

Short Stuff for August 15th
08.15.06 | No Comments

Blogger kicks off new beta…finally. (Wired)

Business Week takes a look at YouTube & competitors (BW)

Another State of the Blogosphere
08.07.06 | No Comments
Category: Blogging

Dave Sifry just put out another excellent State of the Blogosphere. Some interesting tidbits include:

  • Technorati just tracked its 50 millionth blog
  • Approximately 175,000 new blogs are created each day
  • All these blogs generate about 1.6 million posts per day

There’s more where that came from over at Sifry’s Alerts.

Understanding Mom Bloggers
08.03.06 | No Comments

Using the brand, sparkly new Technorati, I came across a great post about the mom blogger “revolution” - essentially, the growth of mothers starting and creating blogs. For anyone who has done random surfing on the blogosphere, its not a new thing, but there’s a lot going on with mom bloggers right now - particularly on the heels of the BlogHer convention - as well as a number of other great directories and the growing lists of top “Mom bloggers” (including a few of my favorites, like Busymom, SVMoms and many more).

Short Stuff for August 1
08.01.06 | No Comments

It had to happen at some point: YouTube overtakes MySpace (Guardian UK)

In Japan, the DS Lite sells more than all other consoles combined. (Digital Battle)

Take Pew’s online version of the “Bloggers” survey (Pew Internet)

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